I cover the village of Homer Glen for the Tribune, and since taking on the beat, Mayor Jim Daley has constantly spoken out against high rates charged by Illinois American Water, which sells water to 44,200 Chicago-area households and businesses, including 6,000 homes in Homer Glen. On Monday, more than 350 residents came out to protest these water and sewer rates. The rates are approved or denied by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). The most interesting part of the story? Talking to Homer Glen residents who shared with me their concern over obscene charges for something that is a basic necessity.
Debbie Litoborski, a Homer Glen resident and Cicero teacher who has lived in the village for 15 years, had this to say:
This is the way it’s happened time and time again. I’ve been to all the other ones and they’ve always been granted the increases…That’s why I asked the question to the ICC, ‘Are you going to work for the people, or are you going to work for them?’ because it comes down to that. They’re sitting here very confidently, looking and listening to everything that’s been said, and it doesn’t seem to bother or phase them at all.
No, I’m not hopeful at all. I’m wondering where I’m going to live next because I know as a fact, as a teacher, I won’t be able to afford those rates. Not me and my family.
Our lowest bill is $110 per month, and that’s conserving everything — waiting every other flush, just doing everything we can, not washing dishes until the end of the day, stretching out laundry, using towels three to four times. We conserve in every possible way we can. We don’t water the lawn. I have a garden I water once a week, if that. I pray for rain, just so I can save in any way. If they get this, there’s no way I’ll be able to stay in Homer Glen. And it will be a shame because I love my house, I love my neighbors, I love my community…I feel there’s forces beyond their control that will not allow [Homer Glen officials] to purchase the company, and everyone’s for that.
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